Art, Art & Archives, Photographs, Film, and Video

David Goldblatt’s Photographs of South Africa Join the Getty Museum’s Collection

Young Men with dompas, White City, Jabavu, Soweto / David Goldblatt

Young Men with dompas, White City, Jabavu, Soweto, November 1972, David Goldblatt (South African, born 1930). Gelatin silver print, 9 x 9 in. (22.9 x 22.9 cm). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Purchased with funds provided by the Photographs Council. © David Goldblatt

The Getty Museum has acquired eight photographs by David Goldblatt (b. 1930), one of South Africa’s most important photographers. His candid photographs of racially divided neighborhoods and cities during apartheid are enduring historical documents, influencing a generation of photographers through images that provide a clear vision of the social and economic dichotomies that shaped South Africa under apartheid and continue to shape it today.

Timothy Potts, the director of the Museum, shared this about Goldblatt’s work:

The disturbing power of Goldblatt’s work is as great today as it was during the apartheid era he portrays. This is testament not only to the stark and shocking nature of his subject matter but also to the carefully structured composition and formal beauty of his images. The addition of these works represents another important step in the growth of the Getty’s international photography collection, and we are especially grateful to our Photographs Council whose generous support has made this acquisition possible.

The eight gelatin silver prints the Museum acquired represent some of Goldblatt’s earliest and best-known projects from the 1960s to the 1980s, and all have been in his personal collection since they were created. They focus on poor communities in Johannesburg and Soweto and affluent towns such as Boksburg. A bridal party, mining employees, a Methodist congregation, and leisure pursuits of the middle class are among his subjects.

Dutch Reformed Church, Quellerina, Johannesburg, Gauteng (Transvaal), November 3, 1986, David Goldblatt (South African, born 1930). Gelatin silver print, 34.8 x 28 cm (13 11/16 x 11 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Purchased with funds provided by the Photographs Council, © David Goldblatt

A Bridal Party, Orlando East, Soweto, 1970, David Goldblatt (South African, born 1930). Gelatin silver print, 24.5 x 24.7 cm (9 5/8 x 9 3/4 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Purchased with funds provided by the Photographs Council, © David Goldblatt

Goldblatt began working in photography in 1948, the same year the National Party came to power in South Africa, bringing with it sweeping laws that created the apartheid state. Avoiding the sensational and violent scenes that often found their way into international media, Goldblatt’s photographs documented everyday occurrences in black and white communities, revealing the banalities of a complex and unjust society. An example is the following image, which features Saturday afternoon lawn work in Sunward Park, a prosperous neighborhood in Boksburg.

Saturday afternoon in Sunward park, April 1979, David Goldblatt (South African, born 1930). Gelatin silver print, 38.1 x 38.4 cm (15 x 15 1/8 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Purchased with funds provided by the Photographs Council, © David Goldblatt

In the last five decades Goldblatt has produced sixteen books of his work and has been featured in many gallery and museum exhibitions. He is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Hasselblad Foundation International Award (2006) and the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award (2009). In the past year, Goldblatt’s work has been featured in three major exhibitions: Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life at ICA in New York, Everything Was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s at the Barbican, and South Africa in Apartheid and After at SFMOMA.

This acquisition was made with funds provided by the Getty Museum’s Photographs Council. Founded in 2005, the Photographs Council is a dynamic group of supporters who actively assist in the expansion of the Museum’s collection.

Tagged , , , Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Comment

  1. Kate Schlesinger
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Congratulation on this purchase. I look forward to seeing a major show of African photography at the Getty one day.

One Trackback

Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Tumblr

    • photo from Tumblr

      thegetty:

      GAME OF THRONES: SEASON 6, EPISODE 2

      Winter is coming. All men must die. And Game of Thrones is back! Stay tuned each week as we unpack Sunday’s episodes through masterpieces.

      Winter is coming indeed! A snowy forecast has just been resurrected thanks to a please-touch-me-and-cut-my-hair lady in red. The epic line “I drink and I know things” provides especially good wisdom for how to tame two dragons

      Several characters went at it this week: a soldier and a friar exchanged heated remarks in the presence of an armed peace mob, a girl with no name and another not-so-kind girl went stick to stick, a crow and a giant went crossbow to stone wall, a first-born son stabbed his father, starving hounds and a new mother went canines to flesh, and two brothers duked it out on a swinging bridge (one fell). Plus, the three-eyed raven (who sits in a tree) taught a forgotten character how to look into the past.


      To make our Game of Thrones posts more international, we’ll feature an image from our Global Middle Ages exhibition and pick “wildcard” images from other collections around the world.

      This week’s pick from the Getty’s Traversing the Globe exhibition comes from @lacma (because we love dragons). The wildcard images were selected from the British Museum (more dragons), the Morgan Library (giants!), and the Museo del Prado (hounds).

      Dive deeper with featurettes connecting the making of medieval manuscripts to the making of fantasy TV. 

      image

      #DesigningGoT - Live Stream May 4 at 7 PM PST

      Michele Clapton, costume designer for the first five seasons of Game of Thrones, joins Deborah Landis, director of the Copley Center for Costume Design at UCLA, and Bryan C. Keene, assistant curator of manuscripts at the Getty, to discuss the series’ medieval aesthetic and the visual sources for her designs.

      Tune in to the live stream here.

      05/04/16

  • Flickr